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Vaathi 2023 Movie Review
Story of a simpleton rising to become a saviour for the society always works in cinema, especially when it has right elements in place. Dhanush’s Vaathi, though seems to be loosely inspired by Hrithik Roshan’s Super 30, is fairly acceptable as the central theme of the film is quite powerful and stands tall for a cause.
Vaathi starts in the present, tracing back to a mysterious person who is unraveled by a group of three students through an old VCD cassette. We get to know that the person is Bala (Dhanush) and that he used to be an assistant Maths teacher who gets caught in the chaos of educational privatization in the 90s. He is left to prove his mettle in an abandoned government school with no support from parents and administration.
How he survives and transforms the lives of underprivileged students through education despite all challenges forms the backbone of the story.
Though this template of fall and rise of a social reformer is a universal success formula, it completely depends on how it is handled. Director Venky Atluri manages to tick most of the boxes to present a commercially empowering film. Vaathi is not an extraordinary film due to its larger than life moments at times, however it tries to hold the pulse of the audience with good set up and pay offs.
The USP of Vaathi is Dhanush and his effortless performance and screen presence. The sequences in which he comes up with innovative ideas to educate the students are both enjoyable and thoughtful. A few dialogues are powerful enough and create a lasting impact as he speaks on social equality. Samyuktha Menon, who plays Dhanush’s pair and a biology teacher, looks refreshing and has done her part decently. Ken Karunas has done an impressive job and other students deserve a mention as well. The chemistry between Samyuktha and Dhanush works. Also, it’s great that Venky dint deviate much from the core plot by incorporating romance in a serious subject like this.
The writer, though, could have avoided a few supposedly comedy sequences in the first half as it fail to evoke laughter among the viewers. Also, he could have introduced the conflicts between the evil force and the good a bit early, instead of having it all post intermission. It would have also been great if a couple of fight sequences had been avoided. The protagonist could have handled those situations in a bit more effective and intelligent way creating a larger impact.
Samuthurakani, though not very menacing, plays a typical villain and has only few sequences to show his evilness. Technically the film is sound and GV Prakash’s music adds value to the film. The acclaimed composer’s background score helps to elevate certain emotions and the song ‘Adi Aathi’ sets up a perfect mood during the initial sequences.
Overall, Vaathi is a film that’s mounted on no-nonsense writing though it could have been even better.